September 9, 2020

Amber Roseboom
Director of Media Relations
Catholic Diocese of Arlington

MEDIA ADVISORY: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, to Visit Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School in Arlington, Va., and Participate in Ribbon Cutting to Bless New Atrium and Plaza  

Bishop O'Connell Reopened for 2020-21 School Year with Hybrid Model Incorporating In-Person Instruction and e-Learning Components  

ARLINGTON, Va. - On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, will visit Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School in Arlington, Va. Bishop O'Connell is one of four high schools in the Diocese, all of which reopened for the 2020-21 academic year with a hybrid model incorporating in-person and e-Learning components. The new atrium and plaza are the first renovations and expansion to be completed as a result of funds raised from an ongoing capital campaign. Next year, the new three-story academic building and chapel, under construction now, will be completed.

“Today's events demonstrate the thriving nature of Catholic schools in our diocese. In this year of unprecedented challenges, Bishop O'Connell High School both safely reopened and completed two major portions of their facilities' renovations and expansion,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Bishop O'Connell has a long tradition of service and excellence in education, offering exceptional instruction rooted in our Catholic faith. As the administration, teachers, parents and students move forward together, I pray that God sends his Spirit upon the entire community so that just as their campus is growing, they too will continue to grow in grace, wisdom and love of Jesus Christ.”

Bishop Burbidge's Visit to Bishop O'Connell High School

Tuesday, September 22
9-9:30 a.m.  Bishop Burbidge and Bill Crittenberger, Head of School, Bishop O'Connell, Tour School Discussing Reopening Plan and Logistics           
9:40-10:30 a.m.  Bishop Burbidge Celebrates Mass in the Auditorium
10:35-11:05 a.m. Bishop Burbidge Participates in Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Blesses the New Atrium and Plaza

Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School
6600 Little Falls Rd.
Arlington, VA 22213

Interested Media:          
Media interested in attending, please contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

“Bishop O'Connell is blessed to have these beautiful, warm and welcoming spaces available to its entire community,” said Bill Crittenberger, Head of School, Bishop O'Connell. “The new plaza and atrium are each an anchor of centrality and hospitality, as well as a symbol of exciting and continuing growth.” 

Bishop O'Connell was founded in 1957 by six local parishes and the IHM Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who still teach at the school. It is the largest and oldest Catholic high school in the Diocese. Faith is incorporated across the entire curriculum. Bishop O'Connell offers expanded services to provide an inclusive Catholic high school experience for students with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, enriching the learning environment for all students.

This year, the school has 1,177 students who are assigned to one of two cohorts for in-person learning, alternating days in the school and e-Learning components. One hundred seventy opted for a fully virtual component. As such, the school is always below 50 percent capacity on its grounds. For more information on Bishop O'Connell, visit

This visit to the school by Bishop Burbidge marks the second of many fall school visits, as all 41 Catholic brick-and-mortar schools throughout the Diocese reopen for either full-time in-person instruction or a hybrid model that incorporates in-person instruction and e-Learning components.

For more information, contact Amber Roseboom, Director of Media Relations, Catholic Diocese of Arlington, at 571-215-8731 or

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The Catholic Diocese of Arlington was established on August 13, 1974, and is home to 70 parishes and more than 460,000 Catholics. There are currently 276 priests serving in the Diocese and 49 seminarians discerning a priestly vocation. The Diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools, four diocesan high schools, four independent Catholic schools and five free-standing (not connected with a parish school) pre-schools, serving more than 17,000 students.

Geographically, the Diocese includes the seven cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Winchester and the 21 counties of Arlington, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Madison, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Shenandoah, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Warren and Westmoreland.